Protein Muddy Buddies

A lightened up version of muddy buddies with an added protein boost! Gluten-free, dairy-free with a low-sugar option as well.

A bowl of protein muddy muddies made with protein powder.

Muddy Buddies, Puppy Chow, Trash… it goes by many names, but no matter what you call it — it’s a delicious and highly addictive sugary treat!

A hand holding four pieces of protein muddy buddy mix.

It’s also not a health food.

I’m all about indulging, especially around the holidays, but I find it fun to make recipes a little healthier so I tweaked the classic recipes for muddy buddies that I grew up with as a kid. The EBF version has less calories and more protein than the traditional blend, but it tastes just as good! One 1/2 cup serving has 4 grams of protein, but if you’re looking for even more protein, you can add more protein powder than powdered sugar. I was making this mix as a gift and didn’t want the protein powder flavor to be too overwhelming so I decided to roll with 1/4 cup.

A bowl full of protein buddy buddies.

Be sure to read the recipe notes because there are tweaks you can make to make the recipe dairy-free and lower in sugar.

Note about using powdered peanut butter:

When I first created this recipe I used powdered peanut butter mixed with water instead of regular peanut butter to keep the protein high and fat content lower. This option works, but the water in the mixture kind of makes the chocolate seize a little and the chocolate mixture becomes more like a paste instead of a drippy chocolate sauce. This makes it harder to coat the cereal. That said, I’ve made it several times using this method and it still works, you just have to toss the cereal with the chocolate mixture a bit more to get a good coating.

Note about using powdered erythritol:

If you want to make this recipe lower in sugar, you can use powdered erythritol. I tried the recipe with Swerve confectioners sugar and it worked great BUT sugar alcohols give me really bad gas (TMI, I know…). That said, I personally would much rather make this with regular powdered sugar, however if your tummy can tolerate erythritol it’s a great way to decrease the sugar content!

A bowl of protein muddy buddies coated in vanilla protein powder.

Make a batch to take to your next holiday party or portion into cute containers and give it away as gifts. Or keep it around the house — but I will warn you, it’s easy to eat a whole batch of it in a day. Not that happened to me or anything. 😉

More Healthy Snack Recipes

If you try this recipe for protein muddy buddies, please be sure to leave me a comment and star rating letting me know how the recipe turns out. Your feed is so helpful for the EBF team and other EBF readers who are thinking about making the recipe. 

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A bowl full of protein buddy buddies.

Protein Muddy Buddies

  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 12


Make muddy buddies a bit healthier with a protein boost with just a few easy substitutions! Gluten-free and dairy-free. 


  • 6 cups Rice or Corn Chex
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips (dairy-free if needed)*
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter*
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar or powdered erythritol*
  • 1/4 cup vanilla protein powder


  1. Measure cereal and place in a large bowl, set aside.
  2. Pour powered sugar or powdered erythritol and protein powder into 2-gallon resealable zip-lock bag.
  3. In a saucepan over low-medium heat add peanut butter, chocolate chips and coconut oil. Stir continuously until chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth.
  4. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal and toss until evenly coated.
  5. Carefully pour coated cereal mixture into the bag with the powdered sugar and protein powder. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on parchment paper to cool completely. Make sure you let it cool for a while before putting it in a container, otherwise your mix will get soggy.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Keeping it in the fridge will keep it fresh and crunchy!


  • Chex is the traditional cereal used for Muddy Buddies, but you can always try different cereal options!
  • If you prefer to use powdered peanut butter for lower fat content, mix 1/4 cup powered peanut butter (like PB2) with 2 Tablespoons almond milk  or water and 1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter. Use this instead of the 1/3 cup peanut butter.
  • For dairy-free chocolate chips, I like using Enjoy Life or SunSpire!
  • Powdered erythritol makes this lower in sugar. I’ve used Swerve and it worked great.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup (made with regular powdered sugar)
  • Calories: 202
  • Sugar: 13g
  • Sodium: 148 mg
  • Fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 27g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 4g

Keywords: protein muddy buddies

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Recipe rating

    1. Maggie
      August 19, 2020 AT 2:02 pm

      Is there a way to make this without coconut oil? I am allergic to coconuts

      1. Brittany Mullins
        August 19, 2020 AT 2:22 pm

        Totally! I’d use butter instead of the coconut oil.

    2. Lily
      May 18, 2020 AT 7:37 pm

      Just made these and they were a HIT among my family. They were the perfect quick and tasty treat. And the protein powder is undetectable!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 18, 2020 AT 10:46 pm

        Yay!! I’m so glad this recipe was a hit with your family, Lily. I so appreciate you trying my recipe and coming back to leave a comment + star rating!!

    3. Missy
      December 20, 2019 AT 1:22 pm

      I’m trying to wean myself off Christmas cookies and I was craving something sweet. This is so good and quick! I used a little less sugar because Im using peanut butter protein powder and it’s already pretty sweet. I needed a little more than the recipe called for, but no biggie. My boyfriend has already had some and he approves (and he’s not worried about sugar content or protein benefits at all, so I’m sure this is kid friendly)!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 23, 2019 AT 12:39 pm

        Woo-hoo!! So glad you and your boyfriend enjoyed this recipe. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and star rating, Missy. It means the world to me. <3

    4. Becky @ Olives n Wine
      December 9, 2012 AT 6:14 pm

      I love that you made these healthier and added in some protein! What a great idea for the holiday season 🙂 I think my favorite treats this time of year are peanut clusters and peanut butter balls – I have a love for all things peanut butter + chocolate!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 10, 2012 AT 8:09 pm

        Peanut butter balls will always have a special place in my heart too. 🙂

    5. K. Sharp
      December 7, 2012 AT 7:30 am

      Hey it looks so yummy!!! and easy to prepare at home, thank for the recipe.

    6. Amber
      December 6, 2012 AT 9:19 pm

      Oh my goodness, I just made this and I totally agree…..this will NOT last long. LOVE how you used protein powder and PB2, genius! The one challenge I had was the chocolate mixture. I could not get it “runny” enough for the life of me. I even added a little water and microwaved it longer….no dice. I ended up with big globs of chocolate throughout, which are quite tasty but mine doesn’t look near as pretty as yours! Any suggestions to get the chocolate/PB mixture thinned out.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 6, 2012 AT 10:53 pm

        So glad you like them Amber, but I’m sorry the chocolate mixture didn’t get runny enough. I’m assuming it’s because the chocolate didn’t melt properly. I found this article online that might help explain the issue – Apparently adding water is the worst idea when trying to melt chocolate = :/

    7. Amy
      December 6, 2012 AT 3:14 pm

      OMG that stuff is SO good. The first time I ever made it I used a brown grocery bag instead of the ziploc to coat with powdered sugar. Let’s just say there was powdered sugar EVERYWHERE. Those things are not airtight. Totally worth it though. While it’s not technically a “baked good” hot chocolate is definitely a holiday favorite for me. I actually just posted a healthified verson on my blog made with a chocolate almond milk base, dark drinking chocolate, and peppermint chocolate tea.

      Great minds think alike 🙂

      P.S. Made your healthy protein powder macaroons on Monday and already finished all of them. So good! Keep the tasty recipes coming.

    8. Sara @my less serious life
      December 6, 2012 AT 12:43 pm

      any idea how many calories per 1/2 cup serving?

      1. meghan
        January 3, 2013 AT 12:22 am

        Depending on what kind of chocolate you use ( calculated it using bittersweet chocolate) it will be around 200cal for a 12th of the recipe

    9. Such a unique idea! A great holiday nibble! Not sure we can get all the ingredients in Ireland but it’s inspiration for creating out own!

    10. Beth @ Tasty Yummies
      December 5, 2012 AT 9:40 pm

      Oh my gosh, I totally forgot about this. My mom used to make this all the time when we were kids. I think we used to call it “white trash” if I remember correctly. Haha!
      Such a fun recipe, thanks for sharing!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 5, 2012 AT 10:54 pm

        Yes! We called is Trash as well. 🙂

    11. Susannah
      December 5, 2012 AT 3:40 pm

      Puppy chow is amazing, I can’t wait to try this healthier version. I do ALSO love its delicious Christmas cousin, Reindeer/Elf Chow:

      Not sure you can make that too healthy unless you can magically transform white chocolate and M&Ms into a health food, haha. But I’m all about indulging in my fav. Christmas snacks once a year.

    12. Emily
      December 5, 2012 AT 1:18 pm

      Why have I never thought to sub the sugar with protein powder??! That is absolutely genius!

    13. jodye @ chocolate and chou fleur
      December 5, 2012 AT 11:29 am

      What a fantastic idea to add peanut flour and rice protein to this mix! “Trash” is one of my boyfriend’s favorite childhood treats, but he hasn’t had it in ages. I’ll have to surprise him for the holidays! Thanks for the recipe!

    14. Rachel
      December 5, 2012 AT 10:55 am

      This look awesome! My family loves muddy buddies so I’ll def try this out 😀 and I agree– your pictures look amazing lol my muddy buddies always look a mess lol

    15. Emily @ Emily Eats and Runs
      December 5, 2012 AT 10:53 am

      Great idea- I love muddy buddies 🙂 My favorite holiday baked goods are pecan bars and peanut butter cookies!

    16. Shannon
      December 5, 2012 AT 10:41 am

      when this popped up in my inbox, I thought to myself, “goodness, that girl is a genius! she can make anything healthy!”, then i read it and was even happier that you have guilty pleasures just like me! sometimes you just have to eat junk food!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 5, 2012 AT 6:43 pm

        So true!! I could definitely make this even healthier but then it wouldn’t be as good and it just wouldn’t be worth it. 🙂

    17. chocolate-covered katie
      December 5, 2012 AT 9:53 am

      Brittany, these look awesome! I’m very impressed by the photos, too. I made a muddy buddy recipe a few months ago and the photos were so bad I never even posted it. Your second-to-last photo is my favorite 🙂 Thanks for including me in your post.

    18. NYC FIT GIRL
      December 5, 2012 AT 9:50 am

      What a cute idea!! Looks delicious!

    19. Elaine @ Cooking to Perfection
      December 5, 2012 AT 9:38 am

      Using PB2 is a great idea!! I love using PB2 to get that wonderful peanut butter flavor without all of the fat and calories. Will def use PB2 the next time I make muddy buddies. 🙂

    20. Gillian @ Money After Graduation
      December 5, 2012 AT 9:20 am

      I LOVE puppy chow (that’s what I call this hehe) and this healthy variation sounds yummy!

    21. Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots
      December 5, 2012 AT 9:19 am

      I love muddy buddies, this sounds fantastic, love making treats “more healthy”

    22. Karey @ Nutty About Health
      December 5, 2012 AT 8:35 am

      Looks delicious… and addicting!! 🙂

    23. claire @ live and love to eat
      December 5, 2012 AT 8:20 am

      This is one of my favorite Christmas (or anytime) treats – can’t wait to try this version!

      1. Karl Rock
        December 18, 2019 AT 1:38 am

        Thanks for helping me with this quality post.

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